I am shocked by the negative comments - both my children have excelled at Villa, and absolutely love the school. Having moved a few times when they were younger, we were able to see several schools. Villa is BY FAR the best. I can't stress enough how much they love going to school now. That alone is fantastic, but combined with their high test scores, the incredible teachers, the after school programs (especially art and science club), it all makes Villa a standout school. Easily one of the best public/charter schools in Phoenix, AND just won Arizona Charter School of the Year. Is Villa for everyone? No. The whole point of Montessori is to let students learn as much as they can, at their own pace. Learning self discipline and time management is critical. Some students might not thrive under those conditions. Others will love that they can keep moving to the next 'level' once they complete their current level work. Between my 2 kids, we've seen teachers at every level from age 3 up to 6th grade. The teachers are almost superhuman with their time & effort, the parents are very involved & supportive, and my kids LOVE going to Villa. Best. School. Ever.
We have switched to Madison and are much happier. We liked the parents a lot at Villa and the atmosphere was gentle & nice, but the kids were missing out there. Didn't love the math program and the lack of foreign language was a big negative for us. Now that we moved, we have a great math program, awesome Spanish classes, PE 2 x a week, and even a real art teacher (not just ceramics all the time). Think I'd give more stars for just the pre-school at Villa, but if I'm rating the grade school, I can't...the school just isn't competitive with other schools academically. No Spanish or Chinese and the ancient math program just puts our kids at a comparative disadvantage. Stick with Villa for preschool only.
I am amazed by some of the negative remarks here - Villa has been amazing for my children. My son just graduated from 8th grade and the middle school transformed him from a boy to a young man. His character and academics all soared this past year and he is already doing activities at the public high school near us and he is doing fine. His AIMS scores were through the roof and I have no doubt he will reap the benefits from this school for his entire life. My oldest son (who graduated from Villa 8 years ago) said he wished he could have gone to a Montessori high school. It seems that there are issues at all schools but the ones listed here have not been witnessed by me, or anyone that I know at Villa.
Awesome! Great teachers who really care about each student. Amazing curriculum and extra curricular opportunities; inspiring leadership; committed parent community; high academic achievement
Lower grades=Achieving Middle School=Falls Far Below Please notice that there was no Excelling. This does not happen at this school. My child was not prepared for high school by attending Villa. Because of this she had to be placed in a remedial math group and she was unable to take one of her electives. She is now so lost in math and it breaks my heart that she feels this way about school. She loved math in the lower grades, but middle school did nothing to help her move forward with her peer group. In fact, she is father behind than ever. Villa's math classes are so behind the times. Saxon math does nothing to help your child. The parent involvement is great, but you can find this at other schools too. Please really look at this school (ask for an all day observation) before you jump on the Villa bandwagon.
This school is amazing for the younger students. However, as the children move up in grade level, the expectations of the children are very low. If your child is willing to meet these minimum expectations but capable of exceeding the expectations, your child will be passed over.
I do not agree with the last review. There are a few issues that need to be discussed. First, Villa is a public school, yes a charter, but they receive monies from the state. Second, Villa must do the same state testing, AIMS, to receive state monies, so the theory that they don't need to test the kids is off base. Yes, the kids do have an unstructured learning environment, but that doesn't make it better for all kids. You said that there is no creativity in public schools (again, villa is a public school) you haven't looked very hard. There are so many amazing teachers and schools that are being creative every day. Your blanket statement is off base. Glad your daughter has found a place that fits. That's what we all hope for all kids. Good luck at the middle school
My daughter attended regular public school most every year, including both the top district in Phoenix and a poor title 1 school. She did not come to Villa until 6th grade (this year) which is rare but I can honestly say that the change in my daughter is nothing short of amazing! She is confident, her mind is overflowing with creativity and she is more sure of who she is and wants to be then she ever has been. I believe that Villa teaches our children important life lessons that none of us ever learned in school and in fact are lucky to learn even as adults. Academics are NOT everything. Children learn at their own pace at Villa and that is proven to make children lifelong learners who naturally love learning. I have seen it happen right before my very eyes. There is so much focus on standardized testing in public schools now and therefore a lot of drilling for texts. There is no creative hands on learning going on at all anymore. This is the best choice I have ever made for my child, not just in her education but for her future as a productive, CARING community member. The teachers and staff at Villa truly love their work and want to see ever child succeed. Villa rocks!
My child completed 8th grade 2 years ago. All I can say is that this school did NOTHING to prepare her for high school. She had not idea how to take a real test, the teachers were all right, but the outdated curriculum was laughable. Come to find out, almost all of the middle school teachers that were worth anything are leaving this year. Parents send your kids to a REAL School.
I am a parent at Villa Montessori for the past 20+ years. Both kids started the earliest they would take them and have gone all the way through. Children thrive here in a supportive community. I am so grateful for all their experiences --both the good and not so good. Villa prepared them well for life and I notice (as do others) that my kids have such a strong sense of who they are and what matters to them. Many of the teachers were there when we started and even many years before. It is true that asst. teachers who seek to advance have to leave because of the lack of turnover of lead teachers, and it is always sad to see them go. But the new ones quickly become part of the family and all is well again. Someone here said that Villa is "Montessori lite" and I sort of agree--but that is primarily due to the testing requirements for charter schools and the attitudes of parents like those who are giving Villa lower scores because they like the "idea" of a Montessori education, but also want them to have "grades" and constantly compare their kids to "standards" and "others", expecting their children to always be "advanced" so they can "compete". That's not what Montessori is about.
Both of my children attended pre-school at Villa and now attend the grade school...we've been involved for a total of 6 years. The school is really wonderful and I have never been disappointed in the care and education my children are receiving. While some staff/teachers are better than others, the primary teachers my children have had have been nothing short of absolutely amazing. I feel blessed to have my children attend school in an environment they love and feel inspired to learn.
Villa Montessori is a great school for kids who are willing to be challenged. Some kids can not handle the stress of being a grade level ahead of regular public schools which is fine, everyone learns a diffrent way. The teachers are not in cliques and truly try to help your kid. This school, although it does not teach another language, prepares you for your life ahead. This is a school where relationships are made, a place where teachers and students are treated as equals. If you have a problem with the school then actually do something about it. Just playing phone tag doesn't work if you have a problem that you want to be fixed. Remember that this school is still trying to grow and get better because they know that nothing in life is perfect, which is something that everyone should know.
Villa Montessori has been a gift to my family. My husband and I are fortunate enough to have children ranging from grades 1-8. This school not only provides an impeccable education, it truly is an education of the whole child. They promote life long learning and each of them are above grade level due to the academic prowess and encouragement of self-directed learning. Executive functioning is such an important skill and teachers hold each child responsible for completing follow-ups in a timely manner. When my children come home from school, their learning continues whether it be science experiments, research or reading. I have been a parent at this school for twelve years and feel so much gratitude for the strong sense of community, supportive administration and the encouragement of the education of the whole child.
If you value a true Montessori experience, this is not it. It is Montessori-lite, at best. Prior to coming to Villa, I had my daughter in another (far more serious out-of-state) Montessori for several years. After joining Villa, I was dismayed by the dumbing down of the Montessori approach. This school has strayed too far, and the divergence has brought with it decreased expectations for learning. While my daughter flourished at her first school (learning at rapid speed because she was challenged), she languished at Villa because she was not challenged. Since she was above average in learning ability, Villa considered her a low priority. She regressed in reading, writing and math, and complained about being bored. Villa s poorly executed Montessori curriculum simply wouldn t adapt to her learning pace (even though it should). I had numerous conversations with school administrators about my concerns and frustrations. They were not interested. She has since switched schools, and I am once again astounded her rapid pace of learning. She is finally being challenged again. If you re striving for average then Villa will deliver. If you expect more, then consider other options.
I don't think the negative comments reflect reality. I'm reading things like "teacher turnover is horrendous," but almost every Villa teacher returns every year. Teachers that do move on are typically assistants looking for a lead teacher opportunity that Villa can't provide them. Nearly every student returns every year. The entire school is A-rated, based on student outcomes. (Look it up!) And they just completed an impressive construction project that vastly improved the Elementary classrooms. I could go on and on. Villa isn't a perfect school, but no school is. Still, I think Villa, by any reasonable measure, is a terrific school. Oh well. Anyway, my son is in Kindergarten and thriving. Because of the Montessori materials and expert teachers, he can count by 4s, 5s, 6s, etc. He can write and is actively learning to read. He loves going to school and is flourishing. He's been at Villa for 3 years and he'll be there for 8 more.The negative comments do not reflect my family's experience at all, except that the school does charge for full-day Kindergarten. It's a bummer, but to be fair, the state only pays the school for 1/2 day. My family couldn't be happier. Thanks, Villa!
Villa Montessori is fine until 3rd grade. After that it is terrible or possibly we got the worst teachers in E2. After we pulled our children we spent almost a year catching up so they could keep up with their respective grade. This was after we were constantly told they were doing great. Now we are trying to undo the damage done; love of learning and self esteem. Think long and hard before considering this school. It is not for everyone especially if your children do not fit in the ideal Montessori mold.
Thank you to the staff, teachers, and administration for an amazing year! Both of my children attend Villa and they love the school! I can't say enough wonderful things about the wonderful women in the office as well as the administration. Also a huge thank you to the wonderful teachers who have been such an important part of my children's lives.
We have been a part of the Villa community over twelve years. We consider the staff and administration a part of our extended family. We are always treated with love and respect by everyone even if we do not personally know them. My children started Villa in the infant and toddler room and will continue to be there through middle school. Villa has been dedicated to my children and we are dedicated to Villa!
This school is terrible. Administration not only doesn't listen, but hardly acknowledges anyone including children while walking around campus. My son attended Villa for nearly two years in pre-primary. We should have pulled him the first year when he did not master counting to ten or his ABC's. He had an extensive knowledge on various science items, but not the basics. When we would sit down with the teacher she said "it would come" It took numerous visits and constant questions until they started working on the basics. In the mean time the Aid in his class began to use combative statements directed towards my child IN FRONT of my child and myself including "Could you hurry up and get him?! It is bad enough I had to deal with him all week?" SERIOUSLY? Teachers talk about other students and their negative traits constantly, which is extremely unprofessional. It is no wonder my soon to be kindergartener has a hate for school. I will be battling this for years to come as they created a negative connotation of school for him. Villa is ALWAYS asking for money, I get it no school ever has enough, but when I pay $800 per month it is old to be hounded for extras constantly.
I have to agree with so many of the previous comments. Administration is very closed to feedback, listens but doesn't hear and rarely communicates. The teaching staff is a big clique. At the E2 level, there is very little follow-through and my son was not prepared for the stark increase in workload at the middle school level. When I brought this up, I was told: "We hear that all the time." To me that's a sign something isn't working. At the middle school level, the work is crammed around trips and the "community" is micro-managed to be certain no feelings are hurt. Which essentially means the adults are managing relationships for/between the kids. I moved my son to public middle school this year and is so much happier and doing a much better job at managing himself.
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